How to Use Eye Drops Correctly

By Yana Fay, PharmD Candidate Class of 2021
The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy

May 28, 2021

Eye Drops

You may be using eye drops for several reasons. Whether it is for dry eyes, an eye infection, or glaucoma treatment, properly using your eye drops will get you the best results. You can take specific steps to ensure you are getting the right technique down and getting the most out of your eye drop medications.

Preparing the Drops

Before handling your eye drops or touching your eyes, the first step is to wash your hands with soap and dry them well. You will want to shake your eye drops and remove the cap. Make sure that nothing touches the eyedropper tip to avoid getting the medication contaminated.

If you wear contacts, make sure you take them out and place them in their proper container unless your eye doctor told you to leave them in.

Preparing Yourself to Receive the Drops

After you have prepared your eye drops, let's prepare you to get into the best position to receive your eye drops. First, you will tilt your head back slightly and look up – maybe look at a specific spot on your ceiling. Next, we want to form a pocket in your eye to catch the drop, so using one hand, you will pull your lower eyelid down gently away from the eye. Hold the tip of your eye drops directly over the eyelid pocket, squeeze the medication gently, and let the eye drop fall into the eye pocket.

What Do You Do After You've Put in the Eye Drops?

After the eye drop has gotten into your eye, close your eye and make sure not to blink, or some of the medication could escape. We want the drug to stay in your eye and not leave into the rest of the body. To help avoid this, you will need to apply gentle pressure to your tear ducts– this is where the eyelid meets your nose. You may hold the tear ducts closed for up to one minute or however long your eye doctor recommended. You can then repeat the same process with the other eye if the eye doctor directs you to place eye drops into both eyes.

Then you will want to firmly screw the top of the bottle back in place immediately after use. If you touch the bottle tip of the eye or the area around the eye, call your pharmacy to arrange getting another bottle of eye medicine, if appropriate, to avoid spreading germs to your eyes. Remember to wash your hands after using the medication and touching your face.

What If You Have Multiple Eye Drops to Use?

If you have multiple eye drops to use, whether your eye doctor prescribed it for you or you bought it yourself over-the-counter, you must use them at different times. Using multiple eye drops at the same time will cause your eye to water up, and the medication will not stay in the eye.

If you are placing multiple eye drops of the same eye drop bottle, then you should wait at least 3 to 5 minutes between each dose.

If you are placing eye drops from different eye drop bottles, you should wait 10 minutes between each dose.

Remember to always check in with your doctor or pharmacist if you are having any difficulties using the medication. If you are using eye drops for an infection, inform your doctor after three days if your symptoms have not improved or gone away.

References:

  1. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/treatments/how-to-put-in-eye-drops
  2. https://www.glaucoma.org/gleams/eyedrop-techniques-questions-and-answers-from-dr-bradley-schuster.php
  3. https://www.glaucoma.org/treatment/eyedrop-tips.php

 

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